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#3859: Comments on the election coverage and related topics

From: archim <archim@globelsud.net>

        In no way do I wish to enter into the field of the proverbial 
     political soccer field, but I do have some questions. I hate to admit 
     it, but I "giggle" at the comments of some of those who post on your 
        For example, several postings speak about an "opposition candidate" 
     being "stoned to death" in Port-au-Prince on Monday. This is great 
     "yellow-type journalism" geared to sway the reader to the thinking of 
     the writer. In actuality, Jean-Michel Olophene (the opposition 
     candidate) merely got in the way of a deadly rock which was not 
     necessarily intended for him, but was one of many being thrown in a 
     riot between rival political parties. Jean-Michel was in the wrong 
     place at the wrong time. Not too different from someone hit by a 
     passing car driven by a drunken driver. I'm surely sorry about 
     Jean-Michel's death, but it was not the result of a "stoning" with 
     intentions to "get Jean-Michel".
        Another report (several, as a matter of fact!) about voting ballots 
     being strewn in the streets or stolen. This is geared by the writers 
     to make the readers think that the election should be annuled because 
     of fraud or the loss of the ballots. Neither conclusion is correct. As 
     one can read in several other postings, especially by Mary Durran of 
     the OEA/OAS Observation Team, those ballots had already been counted! 
     It is to be noted that votes were counted at the polling stations as 
     the votes were cast and tallied when the stations were closed...at the 
     stations! All those ballots which were stolen or thrown in the streets 
     had already been counted.
        Continuing, I find it really funny (read "hilarious") to read the 
     comments by the Washington Post which say that the obviously large 
     support for Aristide "took US officials and many international 
     observers by surprise". To whom are they listening? Lavalas was 
     destined to win; we all knew that. When are those "surprised" 
     officials and others going to come to the realization that the people 
     of Haiti want Aristide? They elected him overwhelmingly once before, 
     and they will do it again! Who will try to oust him the next time?
        It is to be noted that registered voters in Haiti were required to 
     vote where they registered...at the same polling station. The 
     registered voter was required to present his registration card at the 
     polling station, and the number of that card, plus the registrant's 
     photo, was checked with the list at the polling station. Those whose 
     cards matched the list were permitted to vote; those whose cards did 
     not match, were not permitted to vote at that station.
        I do have some questions regarding the aforementioned. I live in 
     Morne Calvaire (Petion-Ville) and the polling station for our area was 
     right next door to my house. There was no violence, nor confusion. 
     However, I stood at my gate and watched the voters come. A large 
     majority of the voters coming to the local voting station were not 
     from our area. Most of those voters arrived in large machines 
     (Mercedes; BMW's; Toyota Wagons; Land Rover's, etc.) and lined the 
     streets with them up and down in the front of our houses. I never saw 
     those persons before, and they surely do not live in our area. Why is 
     it that they voted in Morne Calvaire and not in the area where they 
     live? Maybe they had registered there believing it was an easier and 
     safer place to vote. Can anyone explain?
        The comment by Poincy (whether properly understood, or not 
     understood the way he intended), is somewhat illogical in my book. I 
     think his idea was honesty-intended to help Aristide make a point, but 
     that point would surely have been a sophomoric and backward move! For 
     Aristide to declare that he will not run, in an effort to prove to his 
     critics (and to the world) that he has nothing to do with the 
     pre-election violence, would be the same as if I were to state that I 
     would no longer receive Holy Communion in order to prove to the world 
     that I had nothing to do with the Crucifixion of Jesus!
        And in closing, could we please get the word across to all those 
     reporters that Aristide is not a "former Roman Catholic priest". 
     Aristide was never deposed and is still recognized by the Roman 
     Catholic Church as a priest. He was dismissed by his former Salesian 
     Order, but he was not deposed or "defrocked" by the RC. Church. Had he 
     been deposed, there would have been no possibility for Bishop Willy 
     Romulus of Jeremie to perform the marriage ceremony for him without 
     being deposed himself. Aristide received an "indult" from the Pope of 
     Rome to be married, and to be married by a valid RC bishop; he remains 
     a priest in the RC Church, although he is not permitted to function 
     publicly in the name of the church. Should Aristide care to celebrate 
     mass in his private chapel, it would be a valid mass and those there 
     would be able to receive a valid sacrament...as far as the theology of 
     the RC Church is concerned. According to RC belief, the ordination of 
     one to the priesthood carries an indelible character with it, and that 
     can never be removed.
        Again, this is not an attempt on my part to enter into the 
     politiical arena; it is an attempt to clarify...and to get over the 
                       +AM/FM   (Archimandrite Michael/Father Michael)
                                 Greek Orthodox Priest in Haiti...and       
                                 former journalist